YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

December 2011

VOL XX, Issue 12, Number 224

Editors this Issue: Klaus J. Gerken and Heather Ferguson

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401


Selected Poems


Francesca Castaño


	To draw a chair
	Bearing Fruit
	Aware of the glare
	10-10 -2010
	Moving on
	Grilling sardines
	After Noon
	Fly Back
	Sugar Cubes
	The travellers
	Walking tall
	Our door
	In motion
	Fallen leaves 
	One chance
	The thread of time
	Still Here

Post Scriptum
        Twelve to a bag



To draw a chair

	For K.J.G

Here I am
At my table,

from books
and frying pans; 
a butterfly with aspirations.

Randomly picking
snapshots of the twisting
goings on,

Swerving in the mirror
of mankind, unconsciously
nursed by its contagious

A carpenter
with pencil in hand
imagining all the possible ways
to draw a chair.

	To Roberta Burnett 

We move our feet––the carpet is pebbles––
to understand a life. In dusk
we close our eyes to see the syntax of 
the seeming and its reflections.

At the party we gather 
dismissing our links, hanging
the heavy coat of the work week 
on a perch.

The beat of the afternoon pulse bends 
to Miles Davis’ horn and the clatter
of scaffolding, like an erratic drum set. 

In darkness the shape
of reality––its passions––slides
with the sound of his horn.
We are only as good as our lives.

Unsure of his next run, 
lost in melody, we hang
in silences of mind, slip
through regions of resistance.

Listening is like searching the stem 
of words in another unfamiliar language. 
The heart weakens in the enigmatic, 
falling sounds of leaves.

The pebbles, once collected, 
dissolve under our steps.
We step out of the usual whirlpool.
The heart sighs, leaving heaviness, 

lips drink in
the circles of moments.

Bearing Fruit I look at the sea awake under a pine tree the silver froth curling a dark abyss. And feel part of the wind alone like a hut on a hill immersed in a translucent silence of broken monotony. Calmly avoiding the fear of thoughts flapping like windows on walls. Warmly welcoming ambiguous designs bearing fruit.
Aware of the glare As I walk home I see the first yellow leaves falling red from the trees with the quiver of time. And although the honey skies prevail, the clouds are turning somehow heavy and dense, crawling towards an uncertain future. Leaving the classroom I retain the magnetism that my students project. I can feel their agile minds flapping like stretched wings and sense the ways they see and touch the world – their hearts spinning in the vertigo of the unknown— unaware of the glare they cast onto the late afternoon. At home I sit by a window humming a song unobserved-- as the sun falls on the room with languorous gold making the immaterial face of things suddenly perceptible-- Everything held in suspense, for an instant--life coming closer and receding like the waves. In this quietness my buzzing blood circulates to the sound of October coming.
10-10-2010 To Karen Bowles Bliss has strange moods It comes It goes It hides It frowns It smiles It lives in the strange shell of the soul, Lost. Our life is not other than this: Passionately Explaining The reasons why We don’t want To die Hanging on the breath of What is not. But the heart Divides Its limbs Among The dreams From which we awake Picking up a ripe berry From the grass-- That may Sustain The mind’s Insatiable Desire To run the distance to see.
Summertime The sky is wearing a blue dress. The summer heat is set and still. A cloud cuts the sun down, casting a knife's shadow onto the sidewalk. I rest a cheek against the windowpane, wanting nothing but some freshness. My clothes feel like walls, the room a Persian rug, the sounds of the street an echo… But there’s an odd edge to the stillness of the moment… What if the whole city dissolves like an ice cube in an iced tea glass?
Moving on Today a single cloud passed high over my head; I saw sparks of light blazing around the edges of its shadow. There are moments when the streets are better than home; the rush of enticing thoughts drilling tunnels inward. On this idle ramble, the darker spots of life are momentarily suspended; the eye eagerly chases after the brighter symbols of the world. Time elapses as we cross from door to road and the years fade like a departing vessel. Speaking of which, the poet says: one may wave…but not drown; inebriated as one is by the desire to get to shore. This eternal yearning for the nourishments of the heart is like an echo; an expansion of the brotherhood around, where life and death are jumbled. But it all seems to happen in a second. And thus, one polishes the light that falls from the cloud while looking at the feet that move on.
Doorways We walk about and the city takes off its mask turning impalpable secrets inside out. We cross bridges and the crowd seems to be upside down in the river of life. We take a deep breath, aware of different meanings contradicting and everywhere open. We surrender to the beatific spell of the new fading splendours. We experience the possible and the impossible of a motionless gleam. We invent another duration to the wonders of a nightfall on a dissolving page. We insist on being part of the canals that flow at our feet like doorways.
Reverie Just as the afternoon flushes out the thickness of the day, the isolated self begins to breeze within its own sphere. So one sits down to music and a glass of wine magnetized by an unreasonable happiness. Stroking the chromatic silence like you would a cat’s head… …vaguely dreaming of murmuring trees, stepping from one stone to the next. Abandoned to the spell of craving hours; true to the edge of a turning wind. Then everything swells in the balancing notes of a sonata; tragic yet captivating in enigmatic delights. To hear the voice that whispers: alive in the swarm of the swell! To do what the closed eyes yearn for: touching clouds with fingertips in a trembling gesture! Succumbing to the silence hidden in vibrating sounds, when nothing moves.
Grilling sardines Of course not all the expectations I carry within are materialized. I am also the woman with an apron: grilling sardines with lemon, ginger and garlic; while worrying about the splits opening up along the seams of everyday struggles. Because my goals are irresolute I go around helplessly searching for the grip that ties me in. The wings of the mind are like bells: sometimes heavy iron, others a light chime. I drag over words trying to catch everything. I mean whatever the essential is supposed to be. What an endless longing that is, what a strange hope! To aim for this dizzying construction of the rapture of the self.
Rolling To Jeffrey Alfier I walk behind a leaf trundling in the wind, the depth of my mind's eye swelling its bud into branches, absorbing the light's inheritance beginning to agonize for oxygen. The city is deserted at this hour, and streets feel like rooms of a house, alleys becoming corridors. Its inhabitants, drift through sleepy, unseen shadows from the burning light of midday. I slide into ineffable joy, forget about the fear of the fall, turbulent and green, looking into the abyss while holding onto the wings of a branch opening to the white sky.
After Noon I almost run, impatiently wishing to be inside, though the sky fills with colours. The door opens to walnut-tinted light; an amber, ripe scent every room suspended in purple dusk— flickering eyelashes on window panes… So I take off the bag the scarf the coat the watch the sweater the t-shirt the pants. Put on the unscheduled the rhythm the blossoming the ease the silence the vertigo the light A lizard on the wall sheds its skin.
Fly Back To Carmen Castaño Méndez I regret not having wings. So I beat the air with hands like feathers; but despite so much fluttering, the feet won’t float… And yet, I keep standing barefoot on a bridge imitating the clouds passing over soaring through curling shadows stroke by stroke…
Sugar Cubes Nothing comes easy in this uncertain journey; one is very young or rather old, and the days melt like sugar cubes… heaven and hell drinking from the same glass. Sometimes everything seems easy; one is young enough to choose the dreams along with which one rows on... but too old to play the trumpet like Miles Davis. Not easy to swim in this restless sea of changing desires; one is reluctant to accept the truth, that the wings were not roots… and the entrance was a tunnel.
The travellers The travellers sink towards the green zone of the city and find the trees holding up a cloudless sky with their stretched limbs. A peaceful parasol over the sun-warmed turbulences of the self…. the murmuring waters a lullaby that sings stories of unusual depth.
Transfixed The heart, unconscious of its eloquence, keeps wanting to talk about what it is or it isn’t. But the sun keeps shining behind the blinds on the hottest day of the week; blessed be the air. Small facts take me back to the thought of the heart and its eloquence; the many ways to say: I want your lips. But eloquence hides in the hand of the heart. And so, we give up words and lie down silently transfixed.
Tribute Where we live history looks at us like a mirror. Under the visible sky the cracked face of a building glows like the shield of a knight. I go onto the balcony inside the city, at the very hour in which the afternoon begins; strangely aware of the maturity of the air. Smoothly unlocking the pulse of time, I envision the ghosts of other lives unloading a silent cargo of washed out memories. Afterwards, I go silently back indoors leaving the bare stones in peace with their tribute. Startled by the impossible survival of the reflection in the mirror.
Walking tall All along the street I feel the hands of consciousness covering my ears from the irritating sound of a honking car. I carry a sign on my forehead that says: here you have an urban woman who keeps getting lost on her way, in spite of all the good directions-- and sideways. Surely it makes no sense to ask honking life to stop its howl. The rattle makes the heart tremble; but the mind keeps cool, listening for a signal. Let’s say one puts the ear to the wall where the pounding sounds of life turn into experience: the place in the self where parts come together…freed from the shadows of some lost paradise. And one says: if I could live my life again I would cross the same crossroads; even if they led me to the same intersections. I would drag my feet over the same clay floors.
Our door Warm weather remains despite the season. Ardor withers like autumn leaves facing a burning sun. But the mind is a bird travelling through forests, tremulous and alert, able to endure both tempest and winds between rocks and cracks.
Knots The spirit of the day is to reconstruct silence in order to subvert the noisy clatter of a discourse that gives no access to coherent rhythms a magnitude of breathless wanderings oblivious to a certain keenness carried along hazardous ceremonies speeding to beg another unknown demand a bristling of the winds that tinker within the balance of an overturning gathering to hold and pull at the continuous tasks that are never fully done entangled in endless knots
Negotiations The week goes by abruptly subtracting time from life. But it was a good week. The heart calming the wild waves that rise above exhaustion. Desiring rapture while humming words; a silent voice that grows without solemnity, revising mistakes after long negotiations. Holding to improvised inventions that nourish the stable and the hunted that lodge in the bosom of the night.
Bones There's no threat to keep us back. Every evil has already taken all grounds and many dreams to the grave. But yesterday was yesterday and tomorrow is yet to come. It hurts at first; to realize what little progress we've made. But sacrifice has wings too, and sometimes horror meets its punishment. History is full of examples of feisty bones that never gave up, that blossom among tarnished axioms and rise against all odds casting an anchor into the future.
In motion On the subway I rest my head against the seat and close my eyes trying to settle into the parallel reality of the mind. Motion helps; tunnels become rivers: I go down-stream polishing pebbles loosening sharp edges accommodating myself to the moods of the human landscape, resting in gravity’s pull; I slide calmly along the curve of the day with a clear gaze, terrified by the darkness outside.
Fallen leaves the fallen leaves creak under foot like ripe apples, radiating purple hues, along the shadows' edge, absorbing oxygen, like maturing fruit not knowing withered darkness. They dance on my shoulders like drizzling rain trundling on the wind, a gliding gold and crimson, like a queen’s cloak, or palpitating hearts; there’s no violence in such serenity.
One chance Going back to reality after a brief hiatus chills the blood with frenzy; existence flapping with lethargic aim, illustrating the idea of lost hopes, recalling rules and conditions. We operate through the mirror of accompanying artifices, prey to substantial fears, whipped this way and that like Hamlet. In the midst of the chaos, in the fiction of the present, we try to keep intact; but one should have at least one chance to disarm the unalterable.
Words I hear words floating like fugitive omens full of bandages and furies across the hours, Herculean in their slow movement towards dusk, strangely orphaned of vanity at the end of the day and practically naked when they get home.
Talisman Everything keeps going on while I daydream about the life of others and my own. Intrepid sailors slipping over waves sometimes as tall as the boat— holding shells in the palm of our hands
Traces A look at the sky the sun descending like a migratory bird plunging into the purple veil of the afternoon. Leaving traces of the hardships of the week on the dark blue frame of the window of the eye half-closed in silence. Dividing the limbs of the lived days into small compartments of fear and happiness engraved on the body of memory even when it goes.
Fires To Michael Parker We walk to the sea, relaxed vagabonds absorbing the rhyme of a receding tide. The abstract city behind, fresh air revisiting the lungs at the hour when the day is suspended amid little fires burning. Feeling complete despite the unsettling possibilities that roll with the wind and won’t let go.
The thread of time No day is the same, and yet we are like pragmatic learners of the epoch subjected to the tread of time and its peculiar games… Asking questions about the exhaustions of the era; trembling with private agitations… While keeping busy with the mirages of the day that float like indistinguishable contrails in the changing light of this hour.
Password During the night the stillness of time spreads over me. Nothing moves except the hours, stretching out in lethargic monotony. The mind wrestles with the husky silence, looking for accommodation in a safe spot. Drowsy but not numb; a sailor crossing the rough sea, alert in his solitude. If you want to enter the day you need a password to find the sustainable, to go on planting watchful sorrows in plausible gardens, rising with the sweet lament of the day's brilliance. There's no way to describe how the night stares in.
Still Here For Tom We met dancing. At a window…the doorway to a life together, We kissed: a fast translation of the heart. At a window, Gently eyeing the spots of the giant city, wondering… What was it, exactly, that was meant to be? In that ordinary bus-stop… Where life twists…towards the unknown Your arm over my shoulders like a fine coat. I looked at your face, filled with the sense of being suddenly completed. What is longing…once it is forced to cross through fire? We walked holding each other by the arm. A light wind at our backs And in the heart. Love whispering its ancient storyline. In the room lit up with passion Oh…look at You! What is it, exactly, that holds the integrity of this whole?


Twelve to a bag

Behind closed eyes, this day,
a lifetime of flying hours.

Small fires, like elegies,
light our walk to the market,

where the sustaining ripens
luscious, in sharp smells:

loaves of bread cooling on racks; the fragrance
of a red-hot sun softly sponging the lips;

fishes lying on crushed ice, 
eyes hard like shells, fresh and crisp;

grapes, slashed from the cluster,
ready for the ceremony, twelve to a bag …

When the clock ticks, the heart knows its hands:
the new sits at our table, silently blazing

like songs unwrapping caramels that’ll last
till the next year’s toast.

Copyright (c) Francesca Castaño 2011 

All selections are copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is
YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2011 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.
The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
World Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/kgerken.  No other 
version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. 
Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.
Submission and comments should be sent to Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor at kgerken@synapse.net
Submission must be in the body of an email unless otherwise agreed on.